The answers to moral questions come in two ways, black and white, gray and red:
- Black and white answers are condemned as being simplistic, childish, reactionary, stupid, subject to dismissal with condescending brow-beating because there is no actual logical response to that which is black and white.
- Gray and red answers are, you know, sophisticated while at the same time almost but not quite admitting to be sophistries, you know, as a challenge to the black and white crowd who just can’t get enough brow-beating in their lives. Gray means it’s complex, too difficult for the black and white crowd to understand, subject only to the judgments of experts who have been around the block a few times and know the score, know what’s best, know how to get things done, know how to be tough, who are “professionals”, who know how to beat up and kill the black and white crowd with lots of red blood when it looks like the grey and red crowd might actually otherwise be caught out.
The red blood flowed on Calvary because our Lord added a comparative to His imperative: “Love one another AS I have loved you.” That makes all the difference, not admitting of any complexity that would have it that we are to love in truth only when it suits us and the truth does not shine on our evil.
But let’s use our Lady as an example of what happens. With her purity of heart and agility of soul she noticed how sharp the difference was between good and evil, between black and white over against gray and red, between right and wrong, between innocence and evil, between seeing God in the face over against seeing Satan in the lowest reaches of hell. She noted that the gray area was soon covered in red. She noted that cries touting complexity were rationalizations for simple violence, arrogance, greed, of the lust for power over the simpletons. She noted that there was nothing at all complex, hard to understand, mysterious, professional. She noted the calling card of all that which is diabolical, super intelligence coupled with a perfect lack of wisdom.
For, you see, there is not one level playing field with the black and white team on the one side and the gray and red team on the other. No, no. While the gray and red are running about trying to bait the black and white team to lower themselves just as Satan tried to tempt Jesus, the black and white team, full of wisdom, rejoicing in the heavens by grace, answer as Jesus did to all such baiting, that the truth of God is His love: God is truth; God is love. God’s truth and love cannot be manipulated. God’s truth and love sees through duplicity, though fake complexity, through all the arrogance and violence and self-congratulation.
There is no “fine line” between good and evil. Well, to the evil there is no line at all. To the good the “fine line” is actually an eternally impassible chasm, separating heaven and hell.
“But Father Byers, you don’t understand, my situation is complex so that I can rationalize sin by saying that otherwise I would have to keep the commandments and carry my cross and I don’t want to do that because I’m entitled to be the only Christian to never have to take up my cross and follow Jesus because I just follow myself in my complexity because I’m like sophisticated and all that.”
And then we recall the words of the Holy Spirit (Luke 2:35):
“And you yourself a sword will pierce through in order that the thoughts of many hearts be revealed.”
She’s seen it all already in seeing her Son being tortured to death in front of her as wrought by those icily assessing the necessity of His death with their sophisticated self-congratulating complexities. But then He rose from the dead and is alive forever.
It’s as simple as that.